Archived Story

Generation gap has grown [UPDATED]

Published 4:01am Monday, September 16, 2013 Updated 6:08am Monday, September 16, 2013

Following my experience at the Taylor Swift concert last weekend, I came to two conclusions:

• I’m not female.

• I’m not feeling 22 anymore.

In a jam-packed Fargodome with 21,000-plus in attendance, as a 40-something male, I sort of felt like I did a couple decades ago as an American in Mexico during the Easter holiday, when Mexicans flocked to the beach.

We older males — again, the idea being that we’re there for our daughters, and not because we are huge Taylor Swift fans — clearly spotted each other and gave the old wink like we weren’t really having a good time (even though most probably did, provided they had the proper beverage in their hand.)

We also congratulated each other on the fact that, unlike the regular events we attend, we could go into the men’s bathroom in complete privacy at the Swift concert.

When I went in there, the only other person in there was a father who snuck his 6-year-old daughter into one of the stalls.

Make no mistake: I was happy to go, to give my daughter a great experience, and to see a performer who is at the peak of popularity. I like many of her songs, and I had fun.

That said, the concert also reminded me that just because Taylor Swift can write catchy tunes, it doesn’t mean that she’s any smarter or more enlightened than the rest of us. She is worth $55 million (according to a Forbes estimate) because of three primary reasons:

• She has a much-better-than-average ability to sing and play musical instruments,

•She is attractive

• Most importantly, she is willing to bear her soul and write songs about anything that comes into her head.

As someone who has performed musically in public, having enough courage to write about painful thoughts and feelings and then sing them to millions of people is, well, something I’m not willing to do. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to do it.

Swift probably writes songs every day. I’m definitely in awe of that.

But the thing is, when she talked about the thoughts and feelings that led her to write a particular song, I realized that, well, she’s just another 23-year-old whom I have long lost the ability to relate to.

Most of the people her age are either still in college, or are starting their first jobs while living in a crappy apartment somewhere. And those are the ones who are going to be successful.

As far as dating goes? Sure, there are some who get married at that age, but these days, most people are getting married later.

One’s love life at 23 isn’t much different than that at 16.

Essentially, Swift is able to write songs because she takes herself way too seriously when it comes to dating.

Who wants to go through such pain and sorrow over some dude (or girl) whom you’ve been dating, say, a month or two anyway?

As Swift took extensive time (that she could have been performing songs) to explain all of this to her audience, I felt myself nodding off. It’s not that I can’t relate completely.

I certainly did relate when I was her age. I’m sure all of those young females in the audience enjoyed listening to her talk.

But I’m just not “feeling 22” these days. I have my own set of issues, and they have little to do with Swift’s issues.

Clearly, my wife felt the same, since she looked at me and said (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Really, she’s still talking?”

I guess it’s kind of like the MTV show, “The Real World.” When the show started, I was a 22-year-old in my last year of college. I thought the people on the show were the coolest in the world.

When I watch “The Real World” now — and yes, it’s still on — they just look, sound and act like a bunch of college punks.

It kind of sucks getting old.


Joel Myhre is The Journal’s publisher. Email him at

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